Good 360
NEWS  |  Leadership

Aussie Universities ‘Fail’ on Climate Change Risk

Wednesday, 11th February 2015 at 9:49 am
Lina Caneva, Editor
Australian and UK universities have rated from ‘poorly’ to ‘abysmal’ in a global index of the world’s leading universities over their endeavours to manage climate change risk.

Wednesday, 11th February 2015
at 9:49 am
Lina Caneva, Editor



Aussie Universities ‘Fail’ on Climate Change Risk
Wednesday, 11th February 2015 at 9:49 am

Australian and UK universities have rated from ‘poorly’ to ‘abysmal’ in a global index of the world’s leading universities over their endeavours to manage climate change risk.

The Not for Profit Asset Owners Disclosure Project’s (AODP) 2014-15 Global Universities Index has revealed what is says is a “catastrophic picture of inaction by almost all universities” invited to participate including 37 Australian universities.

The Index shows that with 98 percent of the universities received a D-rating for abysmal management, or an X-rating, for having no publicly available information regarding their management of climate change risk.

Only two Australian universities received as high as a D-rating – Charles Sturt University in South Australia which was placed at a world ranking of 13 and the University of Sydney which was ranked 28th.

The remaining 35 Australian universities, including Melbourne University, Queensland University of Technology and Curtin University in WA recieved X-ratings and a were ranked 68th in the Global Index.

"This is the first survey in the world to look holistically at Universities' endeavours to manage the systemic risks posed to their portfolios," Dr John Hewson, Chair of the AODP said.

The Asset Owners Disclosure Project says it’s an independent Not for Profit global organisation whose objective is to protect members' retirement savings from the risks posed by climate change by improving the level of disclosure and industry best practice.

The Global Universities Index rated 278 of the world's leading universities on climate change risk. Universities have been rated across a range of factors, including transparency, risk management, low-carbon investment, active ownership and investment chain alignment.

The US led the world in the ratings, being the only country to have universities receive ratings above a D.

“Indeed, the US occupied all of the top 10 university position, and 17 of the top 25 university positions, despite the high proportion of D rated universities. However, 93 percent of universities in the US received a D- or X-rating. All universities from other jurisdictions fared extremely poorly,” Dr Hewson said.

"It is shocking that universities – thought to be at the cutting edge of innovation and problem-solving – cannot grasp the simple mathematics of wasted capital and the need for more transparency in investing, not less.

“Universities in the UK and Australia were rated poorly, despite the long-running divestment campaigns in both countries having intensified in recent months and a swathe of research produced by these institutions indicating that the risks that climate change pose to financial markets are significant.

"Oxford University, Cambridge University, the London School of Economics, University College London – their academics are leading the discussion on climate change, risk and stranded assets, yet none of the universities have a plan to safeguard their finances.

"Universities must show that they have learnt the lessons of the Global Financial Crisis and manage the approaching sub-clime crisis transparently."

Only five universities globally responded to requests for information the report said.

"The US-China deal and positive outcomes from the UN Climate Summit and COP20 indicate that the 2°C limit to global warming may be imposed. Universities, like any investor, must ensure that they are prepared for the stranded asset risk that this heralds," Julian Poulter, Chief Executive Officer of the AODP said.

"Many of the universities that we have rated lead the world in academic rankings but are lagging well behind pension funds and insurers in managing climate risk."

Lina Caneva  |  Editor |  @ProBonoNews

Lina Caneva has been a journalist for more than 35 years, and Editor of Pro Bono Australia News since it was founded in 2000.


NGO Recruitment is Australia’s not-for-profit sector recru...

NGO Recruitment


Brennan IT helps not-for-profit (NFP) organisations drive gr...

Brennan IT

HLB Mann Judd is a specialist Accounting and Advisory firm t...

HLB Mann Judd

More Suppliers

Get more stories like this



World’s Biggest Mining Company Sides with Enviro Groups in Advocacy Standoff

Wendy Williams

Thursday, 9th November 2017 at 12:55 pm

Five Ways The Future of Work Could Change For Women

Victoria George

Friday, 27th October 2017 at 4:13 pm

Philanthropic Donation Looks To Emerging Field of ‘Personalised Medicine’

Lina Caneva

Wednesday, 18th October 2017 at 3:33 pm

Civil Voices Survey Takes the Temperature of Not for Profit Advocacy

Wendy Williams

Thursday, 17th August 2017 at 8:37 am


Red Cross Moves to Wage-Based Fundraising Model

Lina Caneva

Thursday, 16th November 2017 at 8:30 am

Concerns Raised Over New ACNC Board Appointments

Luke Michael

Monday, 20th November 2017 at 2:28 pm

New Same-Sex Marriage Bill Looks to Protect Faith-Based Charities

Luke Michael

Monday, 13th November 2017 at 5:25 pm

Adelaide at the Vanguard of Ending Street Homelessness Globally

Wendy Williams

Tuesday, 21st November 2017 at 8:43 am

Write a Reply or Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Good 360
pba inverse logo
Subscribe Twitter Facebook

Get the social sector's most essential news coverage. Delivered free to your inbox every Tuesday and Thursday morning.

You have Successfully Subscribed!